According to the Mental health Foundation 74% of UK adults have felt stressed at some point over the last year and even have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. 75% of all education staff have faced physical or mental wellbeing issues because of their work and 53% have considered leaving as a result. Our very own CEO and co-founder Michael Heverin was one of 42,000 teachers who left the teaching profession in 2019. For 13 years he was a teacher and senior leader, but work related stress, and exhaustion made teaching an unsustainable career for him. Michael co-founded SupplyWell with the aim to keep teachers and money in education, while also empowering teachers to look after their mental wellbeing.
Sometimes it can be difficult to know how to cope with stress. Here are some techniques to help empower in effectively minimising your stress levels, so you can focus on things that are important to you:
Meditation is great for stress management, it enables you to focus on the here and now, with emphasis on the physical feelings within your body. Installing meditation apps can be helpful in encouraging focus. Most apps have guided meditation classes for beginners, so you can feel confident no matter your level. Teachers who work with SupplyWell have exclusive access to the Every Mind app which has lots of helpful content and insights including tailored tools and resources. The app incorporates mindfulness throughout and encourages proactive management of your own mental health. Another great app we recommend is the Calm app which has an array of fantastic resources including sleep stories to help you get a better nights sleep.
After a long period of time being told not to socialise, it is evident that loneliness and lack of social interaction is a component in increases of stress levels. To combat this you can spend time with friends, family and loved ones (social distancing rules permitting). Even cuddling pets can make you feel less stressed and weighted blankets have also proven to decrease stress as they can simulate the sensation of a hug, resulting in a person feeling less anxious and stressed..
Looking after your body
Exercise is a key component to stress reduction, when you exercise regularly you are less likely to feel stress and anxiety than people who do not exercise often!
Doing exercise reduces stress hormones, including cortisol and instead encourages your body to release endorphins which are natural mood lifting chemicals in the brain. Movement is also proven to improve sleep quality, which is often negatively impacted by stress.
Yoga is a fantastic way to clear your mind and return focus to your body. There are tons benefits for morning Yoga practice from decreasing anxiety and depression to improving heart health and building muscle. It’s typically best to do this in the morning to start your day right! Our blog post on 5 morning routines for teachers has some examples for you to try and you can also check out Pocket Yoga who have a plethora of yoga poses to explore ranging from beginner to advanced.
Less caffeine is thought to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, although coffee and caffeinated drinks produce a short lived pick me up. Cutting out caffeine has shown to have good effects on mental wellbeing as the feeling that caffeine produces mirrors the feeling that people get with anxiety, shakiness, jitteriness and fast heart rate. Taking vitamins and supplements have also shown promising results in reducing stress levels, the article here recommends 7 vitamins and supplements that could help you combat stress.
Dr Ed from The Lyfe Club has some expert advice on what teachers can do to minimise stress, here is our full video interview which covers lots of different topics on teacher lifestyle.
We hope this blog post has given you some ideas of techniques to help you manage stress. SupplyWell want to remind you that you are never alone and we are here to support you. What techniques do you use to combat stress? Let us know on Facebook or twitter!